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Dashnaks Again Slam Sarkisian On Turkey, Karabakh


Armenia -- Supporters of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation rally in Yerevan, 02Sep2009

Armenia -- Supporters of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation rally in Yerevan, 02Sep2009

The opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) rallied more than a thousand supporters in Yerevan on Wednesday to again condemn President Serzh Sarkisian’s policy on Turkey and warn him against signing a compromise peace deal with Azerbaijan.

Addressing the crowd that gathered in downtown Yerevan, Dashnaktsutyun leaders reiterated their rejection of the latest fence-mending agreement announced by the Armenian and Turkish governments. They claimed in particular that the Sarkisian administration has agreed to make additional concessions to Azerbaijan as part of the deal.

“No matter how much our and American officials insist that the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations is going on without preconditions, Turkey has not abandoned them after all,” said Vahan Hovannisian, a member of the nationalist party’s ruling Bureau. “Furthermore, it has skillfully managed to build the whole negotiating package around its preconditions.”

Armenia -- Vahan Hovannisian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, speaks at a party rally, 02Sep2009
Hovannisian described as a “disgrace” the planned formation of a Turkish-Armenian body tasked with examining the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. He said the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement will also result in “unilateral” Armenian concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He did not specify what those concessions will be, however.

Dashnaktsutyun leaders again cautioned that despite their harsh criticism of the current Armenian leadership they are not demanding Sarkisian’s resignation yet. “As long as there is a possibility of preventing the signing of a final [Turkish-Armenian and Armenian-Azerbaijani] agreement and contributing to the success of that cause, such a demand can not be logical,” said Armen Rustamian, head of the party’s governing body in Armenia.

Rustamian added that Dashnaktsutyun, which pulled out of Armenia’s coalition government in April, will push for Sarkisian’s resignation if he signs up to the existing basic principles of Karabakh peace drafted by the U.S., Russian and French mediators. The latter hope that Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, will finalize a framework peace deal when they meet again next month.
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